It’s day one of our adventure and we’re getting ready. I look across the room and see my husband sliding his feet into his new cowboy boots. I can’t help it, the sight makes me chuckle.
Steve. In cowboy boots. Never in a million years did I think I’d see it. He looks up at me and grins. “What?” he says.
“Nothing, it’s just…you’ve changed. I never thought I’d see you in boots. This is not the same man I married twenty-five years ago,” I say with a giggle.
He smiles, “I don’t know, I think I’ve just figured it out, the things that make me happy.”
I knew exactly what he meant. My husband comes alive when he is in nature, he loves being in wide open spaces and watching wildlife. I too, am learning to recognize what I love. I’m learning the difference between things I like, and things that bring me great joy. They are very different things.
My family has just returned from a week at the Bar W, a dude ranch in Whitefish, MT. For me, it was a dream vacation; a bucket list item I’ve been considering for over 10 years. Was it expensive? Yes. Did it measure up to my long held expectations? Yes.
There are so many reasons this was a great trip. For one, it was a wonderful ranch in a beautiful setting and we had great weather. The staff, food and lodging were top notch. Secondly, my family and I had the opportunity to try new things: fly-fishing, skeet shooting and river rafting to name a few. But really, for me anyway, the joy was in the setting.
I seem to find myself in nature. It is here than I can stop thinking about everything and focus solely on the trees, the wildflowers, the colorful stones I find upon the path I’m walking. I loved being able to get up, throw on a pair of dirty jeans and head out for a morning ride (so much better than waking up to check email, Facebook and the news). I loved getting to know my horse Cody (sweet but grumpy, with a penchant for wildflowers). I loved waking up in the middle of the night, peaking out the window and being rewarded with a multitude of stars.
I think I could have been a cowgirl. I could have been happy growing up in a small town in the west where riding, rodeos and line dancing aren’t a novelty, they are just what you do. I could be okay with crawling out of bed, sliding my feet into my boots and spending the day getting dusty and dirty with the horses. Maybe. I mean, I will say I was sore in all kinds of strange places by the end of the week.
It doesn’t matter if I could or couldn’t. The chances of me chucking my life and becoming a cowgirl at this point are slim to none. Instead I’ll make sure I make time for nature in my city girl life. I’ll take walks in the park, watch the sunset from my patio and take full days to unplug, completely. It won’t be quite the same, but hey a (cow)girl can try.
Thanks Montana, you’ve helped me find my happy place. Friends, where is yours?